Founded in Redding by the family matriarch, the Van Graff family rapidly rose to prominence over the decades following the destruction of the Enclave, dealing in weapons and high value commodities, like gold. Their power was founded on loyalty and ruthlessness, as the family's leader and mother of all ten children relies on them to manage the most important branches of her mercantile empire and handle the most delicate assignments.
The Van Graffs have clashed with the Republic on numerous occasions, refusing to come under their thumb. Though it has often taken the shape of skirmishes, usually the Van Graffs used their wealth to pay the NCR off when defeat became inevitable and lay low for a while, allowing for the hostilities to die down. Eventually, however, the Van Graffs could no longer face the NCR on equal footing. The Republic has grown large and powerful enough to field a massive army, dwarfing whatever force the Van Graffs could muster, no matter how sizable. The solution was to expand their influence through other means, such as entering the New Reno market and contesting the Wrights' control over the city and securing new markets out east, such as in the Mojave Wasteland.
The Van Graffs established their branch in Freeside around 2276, under the leadership of Frieda and Gloria Van Graff. They took over the dilapidated Silver Rush casino. When the Kings protested, plasma weapons caused them to withdraw the objections, leaving the family free to ply their trade. This naturally attracted the attention of the Brotherhood, but Elder Elijah's preoccupation with HELIOS One prevented the chapter from taking action.
The general strategy in the Mojave is to maximize profits through official and unofficial deals, as well as undercutting the competition.[Non-canon 1] To this end, Gloria has formed a covert alliance with Alice McLafferty. In return for hitting competing caravan outfits, like Durable Dunn's or Cassidy Caravans, staging them as Brotherhood attacks, the Crimson Caravan Company would undermine the Gun Runners' market share, motivating clients to deal with the Van Graffs instead.
Of course, Gloria has bigger ambitions. As the Legion was making entreaties towards traders in the Mojave, she contacted one of their representatives and agreed to provide them with energy based weapons. Unbeknownst to the Legion, the deal was actually a set-up: Gloria has negotiated a deal with the NCR. She would draw the Legion's representatives into a trap laid by the Army, and the Army would start purchasing weapons from her in return. This allowed her to overcome the hostility of the Republic to her family, earning her not only a big defense contract, but also connections in the NCR which could be leveraged to the benefit of the family. If anything, the sheer profit made off the deal should be enough to convince the matriarch that cooperating with the Republic is a good idea.
The Van Graff merchant house is a family business, with all the major decisions handled by the matriarch from Redding. Popular with men for her looks and money, her long term growth policies have turned the Van Graffs into a true powerhouse. The matriarch's ten children are managers and enforcers of the crucial branches of the mercantile empire, such as the Silver Rush in Freeside. However, the mother usually has the final say when it comes to large scale deals, such as dealing energy weapons in bulk. Unsanctioned deals are rare, but if they succeed, the matriarch is unlikely to take action against her children. Instead, she will use it to expand her influence and operations.
The family relies on mercenaries to protect their operations and ensure smooth deals with clients. Largely considered thugs, the well armed and well armored men are there to deter thieves and catch those who are foolish enough to try their luck. They usually end up used as targets for energy weapons practice.
Relations with the outside
As a powerful merchant house, it comes as no surprise that the Van Graffs are hostile to their competitors. No matter how much they respect the business acumen of, say, the Gun Runners, managers like Gloria Van Graff are obligated to try to destroy them however they can. Of course, there are exceptions: Caravan houses which do not directly threaten the business of the Van Graffs, due to non-overlapping markets can be profitable business partners for the Redding merchants. The Crimson Caravan is one such company, secretly cooperating with the Van Graffs to monopolize trade in the Mojave. Powerful merchants are also potential partners for the Van Graffs, though some, like Robert House, end up beyond Van Graff reach.
However, the largest opponent of the Van Graffs is the New California Republic. The family opposes the taxes and trade policies of the Republic, as well as the manner in which the Republic expands. Time was, the Van Graffs were capable of holding their own against the Republic military with their small army of well equipped mercenaries though every clash between themselves and the NCRA always ended with the Van Graffs paying Republic authorities off with their wealth when defeat became inevitable. However, the growth of the Republic into a fully-fledged nation state has made such opposition unwise and the Van Graffs are forced to look for alternative means of opposing the Republic. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Van Graffs are operating in NCR territories by 2281.
As a result, some of the branch managers, like Gloria Van Graff, have endeavored to strike deals with the NCR, acting as business partners, rather than enemies for the Republic. The one entity the Van Graffs will not cooperate with is Caesar's Legion. While its might and the loyalty of its soldiers are impressive, the fact that the Legion has only servants, not allies, makes any form of cooperation impossible. The Van Graffs only serve themselves.
Van Graffs have access to vast reserves of wealth, both monetary and material. Apart from access to high end pre-War energy weapons, they outfit all of their guards in first generation combat armor, painted black for brand recognition and intimidation purposes.
- If the Courier helps Cass find evidence of the Van Graffs trying to kill her in the quest Heartache by the Number they will become hostile when Cass is nearby. If one wishes to avoid hostilities, approach the Silver Rush without Cass or stealthily kill the door guard Simon. Completing the Heartache by the Number quest in Cass' favor will also turn the Van Graffs members hostile.
- After completing Birds of a Feather (if siding with the Van Graffs) Gloria Van Graff will tell the Courier she will have some delivery jobs for them in a couple of days, but she never does.
The Van Graffs appear in Fallout: New Vegas.
Behind the scenes
|The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and may be inaccurate.|
- According to Joshua Sawyer, the Van Graffs bring in their weapon shipments from Northern California, out of reach from the Brotherhood of Steel's patrols.[Non-canon 2]
- The family is mentioned in design documents for Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.
|End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information|
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p. 42: "The Van Graffs: The Van Graff family has a history of ruthless behavior when it comes to rivals muscling in on their territory, and it seems old habits die hard; two of the Van Graffs have set up shop in a bedraggled old casino called the Silver Rush, where they specialize in Energy Weapons, and the maximizing of profits. Run by Gloria Van Graff and her elder half-brother Jean-Baptiste Cutting, their stronghold is heavily-defended with their Thugs armed with the latest in weapons technology. Gloria is in charge of general operations at the Silver Rush. She is the person responsible for the New Vegas Van Graffs' general strategy, including possible under-the-counter deals to wipe out the competition. The muscle of the van Graff operation, Jean-Baptiste personally handles all of Gloria's dirty work. He is a nasty, mean-spirited son-of-a-bitch. Despite the family's tendency to deal in energy weapons, Jean-Baptiste is a connoisseur of big guns and explosives. He threatens people for looking at him the wrong way and is far from all talk; he will go from zero-to-murder in the twitch of an eye."
- Question: "(In regards to your BoS attacks questions) So by your answers, do you mean the Van Graffs quintessentially smuggle their weapons in, or they're just brought in from the north foe another reason?"
Joshua Sawyer: "They're brought in from the north because the Van Graffs are based in NorCal. BoS patrols don't get far north enough to interfere with Van Graff shipments. Most GR shipments come from SoCal/Boneyard."
(Formspring - Archived)